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Minding Closely: The Four Applications Of Mindfulness Paperback – July 16, 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Snow Lion (July 16, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559393696
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559393690
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #506,024 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Its ingenious structure combines theoretical and philosophical discussions with guided meditations, leading readers simultaneously into deeper understandings and experiences of mindfulness. Wallace's writing is clear and often informal, providing readers with personal insights and reflections from an experienced meditator who is also a scholar. An impressive feature of this volume is that it allows those with little prior exposure to Buddhism to gain a solid introduction to numerous core Buddhist concepts and terms without the process seeming arduous. As a popular introduction to Buddhist traditions of mindfulness, this volume is superb and useful as background reading for any student of Buddhism. The exercises are especially valuable."—Choice 

"A comprehensive and rich teaching that combines skillful instruction and scholarly knowledge. Minding Closely draws on wisdom from both Theravada and Vajrayana traditions to offer a systematic and practical approach to liberation through mindfulness."—Jack Kornfield, author of The Wise Heart 

About the Author

B. Alan Wallace has authored, translated, edited, and contributed to more than forty books on Tibetan Buddhism, science, and culture. With fourteen years as a Buddhist monk, he earned a BA in physics and the philosophy of science and then a PhD in religious studies. After teaching in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, he founded the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies to explore the integration of scientific approaches and contemplative methods.

More About the Author

Trained for ten years in Buddhist monasteries in India and Switzerland, Alan Wallace has taught Buddhist theory and practice in Europe and America since 1976; and he has served as interpreter for numerous Tibetan scholars and contemplatives, including H. H. the Dalai Lama. After graduating summa cum laude from Amherst College, where he studied physics and the philosophy of science, he earned a doctorate in religious studies at Stanford University.

He has edited, translated, authored, or contributed to more than thirty books on Tibetan Buddhism, medicine, language, and culture, as well as the interface between religion and science. He teaches in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he is launching one program in Tibetan Buddhist studies and another in science and religion. His published works include The Bridge of Quiescence: Experiencing Buddhist Meditation), Choosing Reality: A Buddhist View of Physics and the Mind, and Tibetan Buddhism From the Ground Up.

Customer Reviews

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I'm on my second read and still mining gems.
At this point in my life I feel the need to spend less time reading about meditation and more time actually doing it.
Ian Dicken
Guides you very clearly and slowly thru the different stafes of meditation and thru the four applications.
Mario Martinez-Garcia

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Andrew on February 24, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Those interested in diving into mindfulness practice are often left to learn from books that leave them confused (heavy Eastern influence), or anemic (heavy Western watering down). In the latter (and popular) case, the reader may not be aware how much she or he is missing. This is unfortunate. A skillful way forward must forge a path for readers to adjust to difficult concepts so theory and practice illuminate one another. Both are necessary.

In Minding Closely, B. Alan Wallace finds a precise, articulate balance between conveying traditionally inaccessible concepts with simple mindfulness that isn't too light on the heritage from which it sprang thousands of years ago. If we are too succeed in finding liberation we need to understand what the microscope is looking at within, what's in the mirror before us, and what the telescope may behold. This book does a fantastic job of making the harder points sensible, while at the same time, guiding the reader to effective practices.

I'm on my second read and still mining gems.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Ian Dicken on March 28, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's amazing to me that Minding Closely hasn't inspired more reviews on Amazon. I've read a lot of books over the years covering many different Buddhist meditation practices and this is definitely one of the best.

The book focuses on the satipaṭṭhâna meditations, commonly translated as the "Four Foundations of Mindfulness". This is a form of vipassana or insight meditation that goes right back to the Buddha's teachings in the Pali Canon. The Buddha stated that this form of meditation is the direct path to enlightenment - which sounds good to me since I am definitely not getting any younger!

What I like most about Minding Closely is that it presents more than just the basic techniques. Yes it provides clear instructions and detailed discussion of the core satipaṭṭhâna practices as one would expect. But in addition, it gives instructions on other vital meditations from both the Theravada and Vajrayana traditions.

These additional techniques include shamatha, based on mindfulness of the breath, which is considered by the author to be an indispensable prerequisite to the satipaṭṭhâna meditations. Also the metta or loving-kindness meditation is recommended for the development of compassion. Then, towards the end of the book, the author introduces what he calls Open Presence meditations, which are I believe part of the Dzogchen practices. All of these are woven skillfully together into a full program that could easily keep you occupied for the rest of this life and, if you believe in rebirth, several more to come.

I have only met Alan Wallace on one occasion. Several years ago I attended a weekend meditation retreat that he led here in Santa Barbara County where I live. But I can tell you from that brief encounter that he is the real deal.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Recycledwords on March 30, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The only time I will review books is when I feel I can give it an unequivocal 5 star rating. B. Alan Wallace's book on mindfulness is a 5 star though it has taken me a very long time (months) to work through. Maybe that is a reflection of my need to grow in certain areas or a reflection of my desire to fully "get it", I don't know which or what. The result is that i can spend 5 or 10 minutes reading something and days reflecting on the writing. Or, I come back to the book and re-read what I have read and make no "progress" through the pages but just then get the framework built in my mind. This is not a problem for me. It adds richly to the experience.

This book is well written, complete in thought and well constructed in clear and concise language so much so I have to really think about what was just said and let it sink in fully. There is a "thought density" to it that makes it rich like a heavy chocolate cake that can sit on your tongue and tantalize taste buds.

I hope this review does not turn anyone off to picking it up in their study of mindfulness. It is not some staid tome written by an intellectual bore. It is beautiful and strong.
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